You, Behind the Camera
Ernie Johnson’s been the studio host of the Turner cable network’s NBA coverage for more than 25 years. He’s done just about everything there is to do in sports broadcasting. These days he’s best known as the host of “Inside the NBA” alongside Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal. In front of the camera, E.J. has become the standard-bearer in his field – he’s won awards for his work, earned the respect of his peers, and developed a reputation as the best there is to do it.
But today I want you to be inspired by who Ernie Johnson is behind the camera, when he walks off that stage and real life for him begins. ESPN recently chronicled his story. It’s the story of a powerful legacy a father can leave with his son. The story of overcoming adversity and giving your best in fatherhood, despite the inconveniences. The story of a successful man in front of the camera who’s a champion dad behind it. I’m begging you to carve a few minutes out of your day today to watch. I’m confident you won’t regret it.
Click here to watch Ernie Johnson's E:60 profile.
I hope you can be inspired today by Ernie Johnson’s powerful example. Being a champion parent requires many of the same attributes possessed by the champion athlete – attributes E.J. models for each of us working to do our best in this important area of life.
*The champion athlete gives his best every day. Just like Ernie Johnson, the champion
parent does, too.
*The champion athlete possesses an unshakable hope, faith, and belief. Just like Ernie
Johnson, the champion parent does, too.
*The champion athlete rises up to meet challenge and adversity in his life, and accepts
that overcoming struggle will be a part of his story. Just like Ernie Johnson, the
champion parent does, too.
*The champion athlete has a positive attitude, a determined spirit, an uncommon
commitment to his pursuit of success, and a powerful influence on those around him.
Just like Ernie Johnson, the champion parent does, too.
*Finally, the champion athlete understands that success is defined not just in front of the
camera, but behind it as well. And just like Ernie Johnson, the champion parent does,
Everyone wants be great when they step in front of the cameras. For an athlete, that’s who they are on game night – under the bright lights of the big stage. When the bleachers come out and the cameras start rolling, every athlete wants success. Often times, though, that success isn’t determined by who an athlete is in front of the camera. Everyone is ready to play then. They all want to succeed, or work their hardest, or make a significant sacrifice when they know people are watching.
Instead, usually, success in front of the camera is determined by who an athlete’s been behind it. An athlete who’s been driven to succeed, who’s committed to working his hardest, or who’s been willing to make a significant sacrifice when no one’s been watching is probably the one who succeeds when the bright lights turn on. It’s the work he does behind the camera – when there are no accolades to be given or public recognitions to be earned – that truly makes him great.
The same can be said for each of us in our role as sports parents. In this challenging area, you’re probably working hard to look your best in front of the camera. That might be a good way to illustrate your reputation – who you are in front of the camera. It’s who people think you are or the work they see you doing to help your son learn, grow, and improve each day. Just like the athlete, most of us as parents want to do it well when we know people are watching – when our reputation’s on the line. It’s easy to be ready to play then. Any parent will want to succeed, or work their hardest, or make a significant sacrifice when they know the cameras are rolling.
And just as it's true for an athlete, the same can be said for the champion sports parent, too: many times our success in front of the camera is determined by the parent we’ve been behind it. If who you are in front of the camera creates your reputation, then who you are behind it reveals your character. It’s not who people think you are – it’s who you actually are. It’s not the work others see you doing to help your son learn, grow, and improve. It’s the work no one will ever see. It’s you, driven to succeed with no one around. You, committed to working your hardest in the dark. You, making those significant sacrifices when there are no accolades to be given or public recognitions to be earned. Those are the moments that make you truly great.
No one can dispute that Ernie Johnson is a success in front of the camera. But who he is when the bright lights come on – the reputation you may have had of him as a broadcaster before today – isn’t really what defines him. It’s who he is behind the camera that makes him great. His son, he says in the profile, “has it figured out.” I’d argue a son who has it figured out is the byproduct of a dad who’s done the same. I hope you’re inspired to be better today because of Ernie Johnson’s powerful story. Not only in the life of your son on the playing field, but also beyond it. Not just in the bright lights of the big stage, but in the dark as well, with no one around. And not just in front of the camera, but behind it, too.
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